Arizona Students Urged To Carefully Research Degrees

Excerpt from Anne Ryman and Jahna Berry's article.

"As more new graduates see their professional careers in limbo, many also must cope with massive loan debt, on which payments must begin within six months of graduation.

Students are shouldering more debt to complete their degrees, according to research released this month by the think tank Education Sector. In 2006-07, students borrowed an average of $13,334 for every degree earned. In 2007-08, that amount rose to $14,560, a 9.2 percent increase. In 2008-09, it rose by 24.3 percent to $18,102, according to Education Sector.

And the cost of getting a degree at a for-profit school compared with a public or private college generally is higher, according to the study. The cost at four-year public universities was $16,247. At private non-profit colleges and universities it was $21,827. For-profit universities, by contrast, produced $43,383 in debt.

Part of that is explained by the shaky economy. During tough times, states cut funding for education, and tuition prices go up. Kevin Carey, policy director for Education Sector, said weak economies also create more demand for schooling because people have lost their jobs.

Paying $100,000 for a Harvard University business degree may be a good investment if you plan to land a job where a degree from Harvard matters and you will earn enough to pay it off, Carey said. Racking up that much debt for a two-year associate's degree isn't as good an investment, he said..."